Monster (2003)

DailyView: Day 242, Movie 335

This was a tough one to watch the day after Christmas.

Monster is the story of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute that became a serial killer, who would lure men in and kill them for their money and cars. Patty Jenkins wrote and directed this biopic about Wuornos (Charlize Theron) and her relationship with Selby (Christina Ricci).

I’m not sure the definition of a serial killer fits in this case, at least from what the movie lays out, but the deep, layered performance from Charlize Theron was easily the standout part of this movie.

Theron is practically unrecognizable as Aileen, a battered and abused woman looking for a way to survive in life. After meeting Selby, Aileen attempted to leave the hooking profession and go straight, but her lack of skills and education doomed that dream immediately and Aileen’s brashness and bluntness rubbed people the wrong way.

So when she returned to turning tricks to raise money to support Selby and herself, she found herself in a violent encounter with a man who had a gun. This first incident was self-defense, but she seemed to realize that she could get ahead killing these men.

Monster is a powerfully painful story of a woman who never had a chance. Charlize Theron is completely lost in the role, and she creates a tragic character out of this horrendous person who wound up being executed in 2002. Christina Ricci adds her own excellent work to the quieter role of Selby, whose relationship with Aileen drove the narrative.

The scene where Aileen killed a name named Horton (Scott Wilson, Herschel from the Walking Dead) was a painful and horrible scene. The man Horton was such a kind hearted man who was just trying to help this woman whom he saw as needing his assistance and, because her gun slipped out into sight, she had to kill him. It was a gut wrench of a scene.

Charlize Theron rightfully won the Academy Award for this performance. She transformed into this woman, having very little of Theron’s known beauty. The transformation is mind boggling and the performance was chilling. Theron’s talents should ever be doubted.

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